Political gun debate starts anew after Navy Yard rampage
September 16th, 2013
08:25 PM ET
9 years ago

Political gun debate starts anew after Navy Yard rampage

Washington (CNN) - Hours after the Washington Navy Yard shooting, some of Washington's most vocal advocates for gun control started to renew their calls for further restrictions on firearms.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of the strongest proponents of a ban on assault weapons like the AR-15 that suspected shooter and military contractor Aaron Alexis is believed to have used, issued a statement Monday asking "When will enough be enough?"

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"Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life," the California Democrat said in the statement. (Read Feinstein's statement below.)

It remains unclear exactly what happened at the Navy Yard Monday, with no indication of where the weapons used came from.

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Fellow Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia did not go quite as far as Feinstein in his calls Monday for gun control. But the sentiment was there in the statement Rockefeller put out that also expressed his sorrow at the tragedy. (Read Rockefeller's statement below.)

"We are becoming far too familiar with senseless, tragic violence. This is the seventh shooting since 2009, and these repeated incidents demand our attention," Rockefeller said.

Efforts to push gun control legislation through Congress led by Vice President Joe Biden have stalled since the Sandy Hook tragedy that saw 20 school children and six adults murdered in Newtown, Connecticut last December.

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CNN's Dana Bash reports that the Navy Yard shootings and several other mass shootings in the last 10 months are unlikely to undo the stall. Bash spoke to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who told her he simply doesn't think the latest incident will be enough to garner the 60 votes a gun control measure would need to break a Republican filibuster.

Universal background checks have already proven political dead weight for Democrats at the state level, with the successful recall elections of two Colorado state legislators in Democratic-leaning districts last week.

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The National Rifle Association did not respond to a request for comment Monday. The gun rights organization has typically not responded to similar shootings immediately.

- CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Statement from Feinstein:

"I mourn those killed today at the Navy Yard in Washington and send my thoughts and prayers to those families grieving the loss of loved ones.

"There are reports the killer was armed with an AR-15, a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol when he stormed an American military installation in the nation's capital and took at least 12 innocent lives.

"This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons-including a military-style assault rifle-and kill many people in a short amount of time.

"When will enough be enough?

"Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life."

Statement from Rockefeller:

“West Virginians everywhere today are grieving for those killed-and the families they left behind-after today’s horrendous act, made all the more terrible because it happened in a place and to people who serve our nation and work to protect us.

“We are becoming far too familiar with senseless, tragic violence. This is the seventh shooting since 2009, and these repeated incidents demand our attention. While the details are being sorted out, I hope you’ll join with Sharon and me in offering our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to those affected by today’s horrific act of violence.”

Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Gun control • Jay Rockefeller • Joe Manchin
soundoff (358 Responses)
  1. Grumpa

    This has nothing to do with gun laws. This was a secure Naval bases with metal detectors. This just shows how futile any new laws on the lawful will be.

    September 16, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. Jon's

    Glad to see liberals at it so soon. They jump all over this, but neglect to care about the fact that greater than 90% of gun deaths are by illegal weapons, which gun control laws would have no effect on. Way to politicize a tragedy.

    September 16, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  3. gabberattack

    How about cancelling gun free zones to give people equal chance protecting themselves? Military base was a gun free zone, how did those weapons get in there? So Feinstein thinks if the whole country is a gun free zone there will be no killing anymore? How does the gun free country work in Mexico?

    September 16, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  4. JoshO

    Lat no tragedy go un-exploited, right? These politicians disgust me.

    September 16, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  5. Just Me

    Here we go again; knee jerk reaction

    September 16, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. LeatherWeiner

    Why would the gun debate start anew? The suspect is a military contractor. Are we debating taking away guns from the military now?

    September 16, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  7. Matt

    The AR-15 that was used by the shooter was taken from a police officer the gunman, in his cowardly act, gunned down. So Feinstein, are u calling for all experienced personnel to exclude this weapon from further use, or citizens with permits who have a right to bear arms? This issue is bigger than a single rifle.

    September 16, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  8. lghill

    When will enough be enough? We need common sense gun control and a ban on military type assault weapons for all private citizens. What will it take to get this legislation? If someone conducts a mass slaughter in the Capitol, will we then get sensible gun control? I surely hope it doesn't come to that. We are so afraid of terrorism that we give up freedom in the name of that fight, but we fail to see, we have met the enemy and he is us! God save us all.

    September 16, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. Canukman

    Just to give you a totally different perspective than what you will likely receive here, I am a Canadian who has lived more than 65 years in 4 different cities in Canada, all in working class neighbourhoods, and I have never known or even seen a person armed with a fire arm, except police officers or serving military members. And a few hunters.
    Canadians know that guns serve no useful purpose in peace time so we simply don't want them. In fact, I am not certain where I could buy one in my current city of about 400,000 people if I wanted one except possibly in one sporting goods store here that mainly sells fishing rods and tackle. In this critical area, we are the polar opposite of what I see in the USA. And that fact alone makes Canada one of the BEST countries in the world in which to to live, be safe and be happy!
    You really – urgently – need to change your mindset on guns and security before your national fear destroys your country from within.

    September 16, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  10. liamnc

    Another pointless debate about gun control. Regardless of whats decided, we wont let anybody take our guns. We simply wont allow it. Period.

    September 16, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  11. MykeTheVet

    CNN wastes no opportunity to advocate for more gun control.

    Hey CNN: ask yourselves this question: was the Navy Yard Shooter taking one of your sponsor's SSRI's? Nah, can't ask that, though. That's "conspiracy."

    September 16, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  12. NeverAgain

    The big picture is there is a violence problem in this country. Having said that do you really think anybody (myself included) would be willing to give up their right to own firearms after establishing the FACT that America has a problem with violence being so pervasive in our culture? That would just be illogical, from an individualist point of view.

    For the good of the country? Maybe it could be (I am an NRA member, no I don't have horns on my head). The way I look at it, I'll never commit a mass murder, I'll probably never use my guns in self-defense either. But by god I would like the opportunity to defend myself if I need to. Even if I fail, I'd rather go down knowing I had a shot (literally and figuratively) at surviving instead of being on my knees praying for mercy from some psychopath.

    September 16, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  13. Manuel

    Gun control is already in effect and it does virtually nothing to discourage this type of behavior. Why was this individual mad enough to murder innocent people? The gun did it! The gun did it! So why did they shoot the shooter? Why didn't they shoot the gun? Too many people are trying to ban weapons when people are the problem. I have been carrying for 11 years without the urge to shoot anybody. And if someone with a carry permit had been armed and in the building this nut case would not have ruined so many lives. The police are not able to be everywhere at once. What security would people have if only the criminals where illegally armed? This event is not fantasy. Who can promise this would not happen if guns were banned? This kind of behavior is banned and still performed. Criminals would still have weapons if they were banned. Good people wouldn't because they honor the law. Si vis pacem, para bellum. Understand that and you will understand the need for civilians to be armed.

    September 16, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  14. 52pan

    When will enough be enough? Really. When will the gun control cowards learn that taking the firearms from law abiding citizens won't do anything to keep criminals from getting guns. When will enough be enough? When will the gun control cowards try to come up with a plan to address the problem of the criminals and mentally unstable getting guns?
    Seeing as how the Attorney General of the United States has said that he isn't interested in prosecuting criminals who try to buy guns, my guess it'll never happen.

    September 16, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  15. Stormer

    This was a quote earlier today.

    "We are told NOT to judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics


    We are encouraged TO judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics"

    Very appropriate!

    September 16, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  16. Ken

    So called "assault rifles" and hi-cap magazines are already banned in DC. That did nothing to stop this from happening. What would more laws accomplish? The ones already in place didn't stop this guy......

    September 16, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Let's keep off the political soapbox at this time and mourn

    September 16, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  18. James

    Another sad day in America regardless of political side. Americans killing Americans gets us nowhere.

    September 16, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  19. lawdog1521

    Fienstein is a vulture that delights in these killings, she doesn't even wait for the bodies to get cold before she issues these statements.

    September 16, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  20. Dave

    Reports are he secured the pistol and AR15 , from the base arms room, after he first attacked with a shotgun.

    September 16, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  21. Shawn

    Washington D.C. has some of, if not the most aggressive gun control laws in our country. No "assault weapons" are permitted, guns are registered, there is a magazine capacity limit of 10 rounds, and you must have a permit to own and purchase guns. So what next? What else do you want? Take the guns away? There's really no more laws that can be passed in this situation. And none of these people had even the chance to defend themselves because concealed carry and open carry is 100% illegal in this state, too. Well done.

    September 16, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  22. Randy

    Yeah, Keep the good guys armed and the bad guys unarmed. Morons!

    September 16, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  23. richard

    Many years ago, I actually voted for Diane Feinstein. How I wish I could take that vote back.

    September 16, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  24. James Dorr

    I completely agree with both on one single point.

    Sure, we need to stop this.

    But after that, they are wrong. The only way we can stop this or severely limit it is by fixing our broken society. Banning guns won't work, banning murder hasn't worked. Out society is broken.

    We must deal with it or we won't fix it.

    September 16, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  25. aj

    I hope they realize that:
    1. Weapons are not allowed on military bases unless you are ordered to have a firearm.
    2. Washington D.C. weapons are banned there too.

    September 16, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
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